By Laura Walling, GII senior director of government affairs, advocacy & legislative affairs
Most people know Goodwill® for our donated goods retail stores. In fact, 82 percent of the US population lives within 10 miles of a Goodwill location. So it’s natural that we’re celebrating National Thrift Shop Day on Saturday, August 17. But, did you know that 87 cents of every dollar you spend at Goodwill goes back into local communities to provide job placement and training programs?
Goodwill programs help people find jobs and advance their career, and serves anyone facing challenges to finding employment including people with disabilities, older workers and youth, veterans and military families and people reentering the workforce after incarceration. Last year, local Goodwill organizations collectively provided face-to-face services to 1.6 million individuals and another 33.8 million individuals accessed services online.
Thrifting at Goodwill is also an environmentally friendly way to build your wardrobe. On National Thrift Shop Day, we’re not only thankful for our shoppers, but also our donors. In 2018, Goodwills received 107 million donations and collected 5.2 billion pounds of used goods. Without the support of our donors, the retail stores would not be successful and thus Goodwills would not have those funds available for mission services.
Donors are eligible to receive a charitable deduction for making a contribution to Goodwill, however recent changes in the tax law mean that fewer taxpayers are incentivized to give. GivingUSA found that charitable giving by individuals dropped an inflation-adjusted 3.4% in 2018. In addition, early estimates from other recent giving studies suggest that the overall growth in charitable giving has slowed.
Unfortunately, the decline in giving and number of donors will negatively impact the charitable sector, particularly those families, individuals, and communities who depend on our organizations.
Goodwill supports policies that incentivize charitable giving. Congress can reverse these trends by enacting a universal charitable deduction allowing all taxpayers an opportunity to deduct their charitable contributions.
Shoppers, donors, employees, volunteers and program participants are also Goodwill advocates. With your help, we inform policymakers of our mission and advocate public policies that will help the people we serve, our communities, our employees, and on behalf of the charitable sector.